After years of trying to cover up your bald spot or using topical treatments to encourage hair growth, you’ve decided it’s time to try something a bit more permanent, a hair transplant.
Hair restoration surgery offers plenty of advantages over topical treatments or cover-ups, the most significant advantage being that it will last forever.
Another big advantage is that the treatment uses your own hair, and when performed by an experienced surgeon, looks completely natural.
The drawback is that it is surgery and requires some downtime and recovery. It might take months for your new hair to come in. But, the permanence of the new hair makes the recovery process worth it for many patients.
Time Off From Work
Hair restoration procedures are typically less invasive than many other plastic surgeries. Whether a patient has follicular unit grafting, which involves removing a strip of hair and skin at the back of the scalp, or follicular unit extraction, which removes the follicles one by one using a pneumatic device, the procedure is often performed with the patient awake, using a local anesthetic.
The benefit of using a local anesthetic is that the patient is able to drive him or herself to the surgical center and home immediately afterwards. There’s also a shorter recovery time, since the patient doesn’t have to slowly wake up from general anesthesia and won’t have the side effects commonly associated with general anesthesia.
While recovery is shorter, your surgeon will still most likely recommend that you take a few days off from work after a hair transplant. Typically, taking about two or three days off is enough. Of course, if you’re due for a vacation, you are welcome to take even more days off, but many patients are happy to be able to get back to their jobs after just a few days. If you schedule your surgery for the end of the week, such as on a Thursday or Friday, you might be able to use the weekend to recover and head back to work on Monday without missing a beat.
Caring for the Hair and Scalp
Your scalp will be a delicate area after the surgery and you’ll want to treat it as such. Avoid getting the scalp and hair wet for about a week after your transplant, since the transplanted grafts are very fragile at this point in time and need to be left alone to get established. When you can get the hair and scalp wet again, use a very gentle shampoo to wash the area. Generally, a baby shampoo is recommended.
You’ll also want to protect the scalp from any friction or stress during the first week after surgery. Although wearing a hat might seem like a good idea, since it can cover up the grafts and shield your scalp from sun exposure, the hat can also irritate the grafts and should be avoided until your surgeon gives you the okay. The same is true for any styling products. Steer clear of gel, mousse and hairspray until your surgeon gives you the nod.
Activities and Sleep
Along with taking a few days off from work, you might need to adjust your sleeping habits and activities after your hair restoration surgery. Keeping the head elevated is important, as doing so helps keep swelling to a minimum. Don’t lie flat on your back or stomach when sleeping for a few days after the surgery. Instead, use a few pillows to prop up your head. It might be uncomfortable, especially if you aren’t used to sleeping on your back. You can talk to your surgeon about medication to help you sleep, if needed.
While you can resume light activities a few days after the transplant, it’s typically recommended that you wait as many as 10 days before taking up more strenuous activities again, such as working out or playing a sport. If you’re not sure whether or not an activity counts as strenuous, it’s a good idea to discuss it with your surgeon. The same is true for your job. If you have a desk job, heading back in after just a few days is usually fine. But if your job involves a lot of moving, bending or picking up heavy things, your doctor might advise waiting a bit longer.
Food and Drink
You might want to adjust your diet and drinking habits after you have a hair transplant. Usually, surgeons advise avoiding alcohol for at least a few days after the procedure, to keep inflammation and irritation down. Certain foods are better for your overall health and wellbeing, as well as for the health of your hair, than others. If you don’t already eat a nutritious diet, try to commit to one after your surgery. Certain minerals, such as iron and zinc, are essential when it comes to healthy hair growth.
Your surgeon is a great resource when it comes to what to do and what not to do after your hair transplant. In Virginia Beach, noted hair restoration specialist Dr. Kyle Choe is able to provide guidance and tips to help your recovery period go as smoothly as possible. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Choe, call (757) 389-5850 today.